Sunday, August 30, 2009

Radio CAN Thrive...Just Different

We all know there are more challenges ahead for the radio business. We also know that the newspaper business is, arguably, in an even tougher position than radio. An article published on the website makes the case that newspapers (and their on-line strategy) can have a positive future by understanding and taking advantage of what the new news reality has made scarce.

The radio business, music radio in particular, must understand that the way we've been providing programming and selling advertising must change and adjust (differently than has already occurred) to the new reality. A lot of what we offer is no longer scarce and we must figure out how to proceed with entertainment programs and consumer & client services that provide the opportunity for abundant listener value and revenue going forward. Radio stations that are non stop music machines (PPM be damned) and offer little else for listeners and advertisers are doomed. Not tomorrow, but I don't believe it will be as long as ten years either.

After reading the article I thought so much of it could apply to radio. So I took some of the key themes and bring them to you here:
News Corp (NYSE: NWS). and other traditional news businesses are hand-wringing over how they will make money on the internet. I think they are focusing on the wrong problem. bosses should be taking this opportunity to re-examine old assumptions, to rebuild their product for the 21st Century.

we quickly realize that it lost touch with its customers a long time ago, and that the model for the future will most likely look very different to what we are used to.

We kept buying (using radio), though, because we didn’t have any choice.

...all of a sudden, there is choice

...understand what is becoming commoditized and abundant, and what new scarcities are created as a result

The good news is that every abundance creates new scarcities and this is where the news (insert RADIO here) industry must go to make money in the 21st century. The scarcities created (and enabled) by abundant news are interesting stories, thought provoking analysis, conversation and community, and trust/verification.

...They do, however, have the option of leveraging their standing in the community to generate other revenues.
...the real money will come from leveraging the position in the community to offer services no one else can.
The final sentence says it all.

How strong is your station's position in the community? Are you prepared to leverage it for fun and profit? Do you have a community strategy? How can those community ties be turned into revenue? Hint: a folding table with a lone DJ doing breaks from a car dealer lot doesn't constitute community.

If you want to read the entire article click here.